Sherlock retrospective

Retrospective Idea – What to do next is elementary with this creative retro idea.

What is the Sherlock retrospective?

The Sherlock retrospective can be a fun way to help a team unravel the mysteries of a particularly puzzling sprint. Like Sherlock, team members are encouraged to put emotion aside and examine the facts. This easy retro can be a helpful tool to help teams solve tricky problems with calm and logic as they generate ideas.

This creative sprint idea can help to focus the team on the facts. It encourages curiosity to unpack the previous sprint, and looks at the lessons it taught in your retrospective meetings.

As a Scrum Master, you can modify this retrospective template if you have a team of mystery buffs. If they prefer Miss Marple, the Hardy Boys or Veronica Mars, like all of our agile templates, the Sherlock retrospective can be easily customized.

Sherlock retrospective format

Case closed

What did we solve? What did we deliver? What was the end point we reached?


What helped us on the way? What did we discover? Who guided us to help us close the case?


What have we learned? What can we build on for next time?


What remains a mystery? What is still yet to be explained? Are there any ‘why?’ questions that are outstanding?

Suggested icebreaker questions for the Sherlock retrospective

  • What good mystery novel or film would you recommend and why?
  • When have you jumped to a conclusion only to have the facts prove you wrong?
  • When solving a mystery, which is more important, the ‘how’ or the ‘why’?

Retro Warm Up

Apply the Sherlock Holmes mind set to one of these mysteries.

Ideas and tips for your Sherlock retrospective

  • If you’re thinking of theming a retrospective, here’s your chance. ‘Time’ can be used to inspire what the team wears, the icebreaker you choose or simply a fun retro activity.
  • Model curiosity amongst the team. Use questions such as ‘Could you tell us more about that?’ and ‘What could that mean for us in the future?’.
  • Keep your team agreements in view during your retrospective. Remember you can add to them at any time.
  • Seeking to support a psychologically safe space? Switch up your retrospective to allow participants to offer their input anonymously – all voices will be heard at the same volume and ideas rather than the person who suggested them will be the focus.
  • Make the most of your presentation mode and drill down into ideas at the brainstorming, grouping as well as the discussion stages of your retrospective. This will let those who contributed the input the chance to explain and feel heard.

How to run a Sherlock retrospective in TeamRetro

Start Agile Retrospective

Start your retrospective in a click
Log into TeamRetro and choose your sprint retrospective template.

Invite Your Team
Invite your team easily – no separate accounts needed
Send an email invite, a link or add to your Slack channel to get people started quickly. SSO options are also available.
Agile Retrospective Brainstorm
Time to brainstorm
Each team member can now brainstorm individually under each topic. This avoids group think and allows everyone to have their say. They can indicate when they have finished, or you can set a timer so that you know when to move onto the next stage.
Grouping of ideas after brainstorming in a retrospective meeting
Group related ideas
Drag and drop  related ideas to combine them for easier voting. TeamRetro can also automatically suggest ideas that are similar, saving you and your team valuable time.
Grouping of ideas after brainstorming in a retrospective meeting
Vote independently to avoid anchoring
Each team member votes on what they would most like to discuss further. The results won’t be displayed to everyone until you advance to Discuss.
Grouping of ideas after brainstorming in a retrospective meeting

Discuss the most important things first
You and your team discuss the top voted ideas and can capture deep dive comments.  Presentation mode allows you to walk your team through ideas one-by-one and keep the conversation focused.

Grouping of ideas after brainstorming in a retrospective meeting

Review and create actions

Easily facilitate discussion by bringing everyone onto the same page. Create action items, assign owners and due dates that will carry through for review at the next retrospective.

Grouping of ideas after brainstorming in a retrospective meeting

Share the results
Once you have finished your retro, you can share the results and actions with the team. Your retro will be stored so you can revisit them as needed.

Congratulations! You’ve just run a retro like a boss.
Want more? Read on.